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The Value of Design: Design & Health Outcomes

On April 22-24, AIA Foundation with AIA and the Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture (ACSA) convened nearly one hundred built environment, health, and policy experts for a summit focused on connecting design and health through measurement.

A convergence of two professions

In advance of the event, potential authors in education and practice alike were asked to consider what part of public health belongs to design; how do we drive design into codes and standards to intentionally achieve positive health outcomes; and, how can design solutions address a wide range of health outcomes as a question of equity?

The results, delivered in a series of papers, are remarkable. Individually, they help to affirm six evidence-based approaches to health that architects can control through design practices and policies: environmental quality, natural systems, physical activity, safety, sensory environments, and social connectedness. Collectively, however, they represent an intellectual and practical convergence of design and health essential to designing a better world.

Submitted papers

Click each image or title to read the full report.

Health Impacts of Green Buildings

Heather Burpee, M.Arch.; David A. C. Beck, Ph.D.; and John Scott Meschke, Ph.D., M.S., J.D.

This report describes research that used the Bullitt Center as a pilot project to collect data regarding building impacts on physical activity and indoor air quality, including the microbiome.

Biophilic Design: Strategies to generate wellness and productivity

Edward Clark, LEED AP BD+C & Christopher Flint Chatto

This report presents three case studies that incorporate biophilic design principles to realize positive health outcomes.

Shaping the Healthy Community: The Nashville Plan

Gary Gaston & Christine Kreyling

This report outlines the content and value of a 2014 publication of the same name, which focuses on Davidson County, TN.

Health in Context: A new role for green building design

Adele Houghton, AIA, MPH, LEED AP BD+C, O+M, ND

This report considers the evidence of green building strategies' (as defined by LEED) influence on community health.

Daylight & Dementia Care

Kyle D. Konis, AIA, Ph.D.

This report discusses light as "therapy" and day-lighting design requirements as the background for a performance-based design framework.

A Public Good? Reintroducing agriculture production into the design of cities

Stephen Luoni, Assoc. AIA & Jeffrey Huber, AIA, NCARB, LEED AP

This report considers the structural connections between urbanism and the growing of food.

Building Resilience: Scaled strategies for healthy community design

Susan Rogers

This report explores strategies used by communities to build resilience and health through design.

Lincoln Glen Manor

SGPA Architecture & Planning

This case study features a retirement community designed to minimize the effects of social isolation among residents.

Park Design for Physical Activity

Bianca Shulaker; Jennifer Isakoff; Tori Kjer; and Kelley Hart

This report presents two case studies that illustrate how the Trust for Public Land incorporates health principles into the design and development of parks.

Moving Schools Forward: A design recipe for health

Dina Sorensen, M.Arch., LEED AP; Jeri Brittin, Ph.D. (c), Assoc. IIDA, Allied ASID; Leah Frerichs, Ph.D (c); Matthew Trowbridge, M.D., MPH; and Terry T-K Huang, Ph.D., MPH, CPH

This case study highlights the architectural and health outputs of the multi-disciplinary team responsible for the Buckingham County Primary School project.

A Community Model Designed for Affordability and Health

Greg Tew; Mandy Tew; Matt Wagner; Tor Waschenko; Sarah Wise; and Julia Gray

This report demonstrates land-use and design options for an allotment community design.

Vitamins for the 21st Century: Valuing design as a tool for primary prevention

Jocelyn Widmer; Nirupa Goel; and Alina Baciu

This report identifies and discusses key publications by the Institute of Medicine that call for non-clinical solutions to the nation's health burden.

Measuring Health in LEED

Kelly Worden, MPH; Matthew Trowbridge, M.D., MPH; and Chris Pyke, Ph.D.

This report aims to identify and inventory health-focused credits within LEED, among other efforts to further tie green building to health outcomes.

Therapeutic Architecture Design Index

Omar Youssef

This report suggests a design-aid matrix to help architects integrate therapeutic technologies with environmental sustainability practices. The author focuses on luminous intensities.

Impacting Health: The impact of walkable community design on the health of Mueller, Texas residents

Xuemei Zhu, Ph.D.; Zhipeng Lu, Ph.D.; Chanam Lee, Ph.D.; George Mann; and Chia-Yuan Yu, Ph.D.

This report measures the effect of a walkable community on the physical and social behavior of residents. The report uses pre- and post-move data to measure change in health outcomes.


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